EIU prognostication on President Chakwera faulty, report belongs to trash bin

*The author is writing in his personal capacity*

The UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EiU) has just released a country report apparently on Malawi, which has made claims that are as murky as much they are bland. 

Among other things, the report says the current governing alliance ‘could’ lose the next election if the prevailing economic variables will sustain.

The report has even predicted riots in 2024. Yes, you heard me. Riots!

As would be predicted, some small-minded and overzealous politicians have taken it upon themselves to curate a narrative based on this report. 

They are making the story look like a cut and dried affair that will come to pass no matter what. The opposition’s social media army has particularly gone abuzz on social media. It is embellishing and speaking as though God has silently whispered to them that what the EIU has said is cast in stone. This is so wrong.

I want to give a friendly warning to these particularly over-excited high school boys that their excitement is coming a little too soon, and will be short lived. They will be disappointed in 2025, and there are comprehensive reasons for that. 

It is worthy to note that the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is a consultancy organisation just like many others around the world. It provides forecasting and advisory services to assist entrepreneurs, financiers, and governments make decisions. 

It uses data modeling and scenario analysis to help clients predict business performance, as well as doing country and city forecasting.

However, in as much as the EIU is an internationally-reputed policy think-tank, which has been noted over the years for political and economic forecasting, its predictions are not sacrosanct or proven facts.

Like many other consultancies in its industry, the EIU has also been known to goof and make some spectacular prediction failures. 

Even though some of its predictions have come to pass, it has gotten it wrong on many occasions. 

For example, the EIU predicted that Nana Akufo-Addo will win the 2008 general election in Ghana, but it was Professor Evans Mills of the NDC who won that election.

In the recent Nigerian general election held on February 25, 2023, the EIU predicted a win for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) but it was Bola Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos State and nominee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who won that election. 

The same think tank predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 US election, but it was Donald Trump who carried the day in that election. And this was the US turf where data for analysis, triangulations and attendant statistics are readily available unlike in Malawi where it is difficult to obtain such accurate data. Still, the EIU goofed. 

Having done an objective and dispassionate analysis of the latest EIU report on Malawi, it is difficult to understand why the organisation came to such an inconsistent conclusion. 

President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have been frantically working to stabilize the economy. The fuel queues that have been a constant feature in filling stations across the country and a flash point for ‘riots’ are now a thing of the past.

President has also just returned from Ghana where he held high level meetings with Afreximbank officials. Among other things, the bank has pledged to help Malawi with debt restructuring as well as funding to balance its books and to stabilize the economy. 

Currently, the President is in China where he is attending the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) slated for June 28 to July 2 in Changsha City. While in China, the President is also expected to strike trade and investment deals with representatives of the Chinese private sector, among other things. 

The sum total of these efforts is more investment as well as foreign exchange for Malawi in the short, medium to long term and not ‘riots’ as the EIU report is trying to make Malawians believe whilst fanning the flames of an opposition rhetoric.  

In fact, the same EIU agrees that there will be economic growth in the next 12 months as quoted in its report: “Despite social instability, GDP growth will accelerate from 2024 if funding lines open up through the ECF and as output in the mining and agricultural sectors picks up”. It is well documented that Malawi and IMF are at an advanced stage towards striking an ECF facility.   

Malawians are, therefore, inclined to conclude that the EIU report on Malawi will go down as one of those spectacular prediction failures based on the solid fact that President Lazarus Chakwera and the MCP government have put in place measures to ensure economic stability, and have two years to round that up before the next elections. 

The ‘riots and election loss’ predictions for the current government are, therefore ,just a figment of EIU imagination, plus those that are running with that false narrative.

*The author is writing in his personal capacity*

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